6. Target Audience(s) and Needs
Kevin, Nick, Rohan
A great example of differing target audiences and their varying needs arose when I asked about how we can increase students’ motivation for documenting their process. For students who do not see the value in stopping their creative processes to take an intermediate picture or write something down (or document their process in another way), a tool like a time-lapse camera* can be useful for the students to view their process post-hoc (they can see “moments of epiphany or frustration”, how they communicated and collaborated, etc), and enable them to reflect in a way that is minimally invasive.
But not every school can afford time-lapse cameras to document their students… a school in urban Harlem or rural Idaho will not have the same resources available as a school in suburban San Francisco. (as an extreme analogy, the Steelers probably have cameras from six different angles so they can playback their game and practice footage to reflect on and improve their own skills after the fact, while a pee-wee football team does not have that kind of money or resources). So a new constraint on that need arises, and a different solution will arise for that low-resource demographic. It may not be as minimally invasive as the time-lapse camera, so a tradeoff must be made between cost and effectiveness. And new systems and best practices must be implemented to enable whatever technology is chosen or developed.
This is a perfect example of the diagram I chose to represent my design process, where the designer oscillates up and down before converging on a final solution. The time-lapse camera represents a convergence onto a concrete solution, which must then be diverged from when the resource constraint arises. The designer must diverge into the abstract and ask “what purpose is the camera fulfilling, and what new concrete solutions fit this purpose, and how can we test them?”
To summarize, the different target audiences (high-resource vs. low-resource schools) have the same need (motivate children to document their creative process), but because they have different resources, the difficulty in fulfilling that need can vary.
3. Challenges Identified
Prior to the conference call, our group had many questions regarding the logistics and implementation of online portfolios. Throughout the conversation, MakerEd’s vision of open portfolios became clearer and seemed more feasible even after addressing some of the challenges their team has encountered thus far. A few issues were addressed over the course of the talk.
Issues with school faculty became evident as open portfolios were introduced into high school settings. For instance, if the administration of a school did not prioritize open portfolios, very little progress would be made on the front. This issue is logical, yet finding a solution may not be as easy as one would think. How can you convince the administration of a secondary school that the idea of open, accessible eportfolios for their students is something worth investing time and energy into? On top of this, issues with the teaching staff also became to appear. Certain teachers would be very excited about embracing this idea while others were more hesitant. This difference in prioritization was off-putting to students and detracted from the overall experience a younger learner could have had with the open portfolios. While these two examples were issues with the faculty, there was also an example of an issue that occurred with students. It was found that certain students had trouble seeing the point of the portfolios and would be hesitant to reflect on their learning experiences. The solution of creating a time-lapse video was an innovative way to encourage young learners to look back onto some of the work they have completed. All of these questions stem from a larger issue of convincing people this idea of open portfolios is a viable alternative to current evaluation methods.
1. Objectives and Goals
Amanda, Jordan, Yilin, Sarah
In our group, we agreed that a major goal of Maker Ed that Stephanie described is to utilize portfolios as a showcase for youth's abilities, interests, thinking, and voices in a way that test scores and grades cannot do. Portfolios can be especially helpful for students who do not excel on tests and in traditional assessments, because they can help students recognize their own value and feel as though they can contribute positively to their communities. By listening to Stephanie speak, we inferred that Maker Ed holds the fundamental point of view that education is not just about content mastery but also about lifelong learning and development. Because of this, portfolios help learners take stock of and learn through process (formative) as well as by showing evidence of learning in an end-product (summative). Key objectives of Maker Ed include that portfolios spur creation, sharing, assessment, openness or equitable access, decentralization, distribution, and flexibility. It is of note that Maker Ed melds the concept of a (learning) objective with practice and that the organization aims to develop a general set of best practices for creating, documenting, and leveraging portfolios in education.
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